Company Core Values ​​- Why They Matter and Define Yours

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How to choose your company values

This is where it might seem fun to pull out a dictionary and start highlighting adjectives like an English teacher on steroids – but resist the urge.

Defining your company values ​​will require a managed and procedural approach. Try to think of it as a step-by-step process for discovering the foundational pillars that are already there, rather than a blank canvas.

Step 1. Gather all the key players, team members and stakeholders (if applicable) and sit down for a brainstorming session. Compile a list of 20-30 principles that you think are most important to your business achieving its goals.

2nd step. Then start your audit. Consolidate the values ​​you recorded (combining those that are too similar or may overlap). Consider wording and whether you want to limit each point to a one-word tag or a longer custom clause.

Step 3. Once you’ve decided on the values, step back and evaluate them as a complete set. Do they sit well together? Is something missing? Can you easily imagine marketing these values ​​to your employees?

When should I choose my company’s values?

There is no specific time frame in the new career path to decide your values. However, it is a good idea to finalize them in the early stages, as this will help you stand out from your rivals when it comes to marketing your brand.

Danielle Bowman is co-founder of Found by Few, a recruitment company. Bowman says having a set of values ​​helped them stand out in a competitive marketplace.

“If you have strong values ​​that you live and breathe, then you are able to stand out from the competition,” she says.

This is true not only for external communication, but also internal. Bowman states that, given the enormous influence that core values ​​have on organizational culturebrands “should definitely have your values ​​in place by the time you want to hire.”

How many values ​​should I choose?

Deliveroo has no less than 12 core values, including the somewhat competing ideas ‘we simplify’ and ‘we think big’. By the time you’ve unrolled them all, it’s already hard to remember what you said.

Ben Elliott, co-founder of Bowman, tells Startups that while there’s no “optimal number” when it comes to choosing your values, “the common number we see with our clients is probably three to five.

“At the moment, we work in pairs, he reveals. “Trying to be inclusive and be high performing at the same time is what guides every decision we make. But we’ll probably revisit those as we get a little bigger.

Danielle Bowman and Ben Elliott, co-founders of Found by Few

Tips for defining your company values

Do NOT ignore your mission statement and broader business strategy

Although your values ​​are separate from the concepts above, it is still important that the two complement each other to ensure that you don’t set yourself up for failure in the future.

Followers will be confused if a company doesn’t have protecting the Earth as one of its key values, despite its mission statement being to “support the UK’s transition to sustainable energy”.

be honest

Company values ​​are not just a sign posted on the wall. Values ​​only work if they are practiced by the company – and it can lead to huge reputational risk if they are not.

Take the example of Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream maker’s website makes it clear that one of its core values ​​is human rights and dignity.

But in 2018, migrant workers on the company’s dairy farms campaign against the brand for harsh working conditions. Workers said they were housed in unheated barns and trailers before being forced to work 12- to 14-hour shifts with no days off.

This is an extreme example, but the key takeaway is still relevant: inconsistency is easy to spot, so don’t feel tempted to overdo it.

USE inclusive language

Core values ​​are usually short and sweet to allow the author to think about the big picture. But he puts more emphasis on words than businesses do use, requiring additional thought about how the reader might perceive them.

Make sure the descriptors you choose do not imply bias against certain groups or genders. Adjectives like “relentless” or “competitive” can alienate candidates. During this time, people from another background may not understand certain colloquial phrases or expressions.

See this as an opportunity, not a limitation. Being inclusive brings many benefits to businesses. Elliott argues that “being high performing and being an inclusive environment to work in [are] not two different things fighting against each other.

“The more inclusive you are, the better decisions you make. [and] the better you perform.

Don’t think short term

Business owners have to live with the values ​​they hold for a long time. Don’t lock yourself into values ​​that might come back to haunt you in the future.

For example, a craft startup that cares most about being high-quality and handmade may regret that decision if, after a sudden sales boom, it wants to start full-scale manufacturing in two years.

“I can think of examples where someone has created [their values] at first and I obviously didn’t really think about it,” Elliott agrees. “Ten years later, it’s led to them having a huge, huge problem.”

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